Best Car Audio Batteries: Top Picks for Powering Your Stereo
Run your stereo system worry-free with a dedicated car audio battery
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When you’re sitting in your car with the radio playing, the last thing you want is to be stuck with a dead battery. If you have a powerful aftermarket audio system, it can drain your battery much faster and affect the performance of your vehicle's other equipment. The good news is you can avoid this problem by getting a car battery that is dedicated to powering your stereo. This buying guide highlights the best batteries for car audio use to help you stay fully powered.
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Benefits of a Car Audio Battery
- Won't strain your main battery. The OEM battery in your car is made to power everything that comes in your vehicle from the factory. However, there isn't much extra power for an upgraded stereo. A second battery will allow items such as power windows and a high-powered radio to run at the same time without a reduction in performance.
- Listen to music while parked. If you enjoy hanging out in your car and listening to music, an extra battery could help you avoid draining the main cell. Just using the power from your regular battery only gives you an hour or so of use, depending on how powerful your audio system is.
- They’re less expensive than a capacitor. An alternative method of powering your aftermarket stereo systems is using a capacitor. This helps use bursts of power when needed. However, they are more expensive and can sometimes even take up more space.
Types of Car Audio Batteries
Wet lead-acid batteries are also known as flooded lead-acid batteries. They are very common and a very cheap audio battery option. These unsealed batteries require regular topping off with distilled water to prevent battery damage. One of the main reasons this older technology is becoming less popular is because in order to top it off, the battery must be unsealed and can lead to spillage.
Instead of water, this type of battery tender uses an electrolyte gel. The significant advantages that gel cell batteries have over lead-acid ones are that they do not require any maintenance and they are sealed. The sealed battery, along with the vibration resistance of the gel, makes it incredibly unlikely to spill.
An absorbed glass battery is a newer cell technology that is the best of both worlds compared to the other types of batteries. Like a gel battery, AGMs are sealed and require no maintenance. However, they still use lead-acid inside the tender, which helps keep costs lower. They also have a power advantage over wet lead-acid batteries, and the sealed construction allows them to be used on their side without risking spillage.
Universal Power Group
Universal Power Group is a global company headquartered in Coppell, Texas. It started producing electronic components in 1968. The company currently owns ProTechnikigues for medical and government batteries, Kinetic batteries for consumer markets, and has research centers in California and the Netherlands. It sells great affordable car audio batteries like the UPG DEEP Cycle Battery and the Kinetik BLU.
Optima battery has been producing automotive technology for 40 years. The company was the first to introduce maintenance-free batteries for commercial use and AGM automotive batteries. Today, Optima continues to innovate with its battery technology and produces the popular Optima YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery.
Headquartered in East Tennessee, XS Power has been producing car batteries since 2005. The company makes 12V, 14V, and 16V batteries for consumers and even allows you to order custom cells to fit your needs. The XSP batteries are the most common choice for competition car audio thanks to its high energy density.
Car Audio Battery Pricing
- Under $150: There are a few different ways to make a battery for car amps less expensive. Some of these models have lower power outputs, some do not include protective features, and others are unsealed battery cells.
- Over $150: The best car battery for subwoofers and stereo systems will be in this price range. They feature the highest power outputs, closed-cell batteries, and products with vibration and heat protection.
The most important thing to know before investing in a new battery for your car audio system is whether or not it has enough power. It's no use to invest in an extra battery if it can't handle your setup. The amperage, cold-cranking amps, and amp-hours are just a few of the different ratings that have to do with a battery's output.
There are two things to consider for battery life: how long a single charge will last and how long the battery itself will last. The larger the battery bank is, the longer you can use the charged power and not have to worry about running out. The overall longevity of a battery has to do with how often you use it, how it's charged, and even the temperatures it encounters.
The best way to elongate the life of your battery is by making sure you invest in a power cell that is protected from its environment. Shock and vibration protection is critical. Staying inside your car isn't always a gentle home for a battery, and you need to prevent any damage that could occur from road vibrations or accidents. Heat proofing is also a huge factor—if a cell is exposed to prolonged high temps, it can shorten its lifespan.
- Size: The size of your new audio battery is going to determine where it can fit and how it connects to your car. It might be difficult to fit some bulkier batteries into a vehicle with limited space. Some battery setups are better for certain manufacturers, and buying one made for your type of car can make hooking everything up much easier.
- Price: While you want to make sure power and compatibility are a match, the price of a car audio battery is essential, too. You don't want to overpay for a battery that is more powerful than you need, and you also don't want to go too cheap and end up with a poor product.
- Maintenance: Some types of batteries require annual maintenance. While the upkeep itself is a pain, it also makes it harder to mount your battery because it isn’t completely sealed. Maintenance-free batteries are much easier to use.
Best Car Audio Battery Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- The reverse capacity of a battery is helpful information for gauging the battery life. The number represents how long a fully charged battery will last while providing a certain amount of amps.
- If you are going to keep your car battery inside the vehicle's cabin, you should take extra safety precautions. Battery chemicals are toxic, and they can be a fire risk.
- Make sure you take the time to figure out how many watts your entire stereo setup takes. Every piece, including the speakers, draw some power, so it's not just the radio itself you need to consider.
Q: How does a car audio battery work?
A: A battery for your car audio system works the same way as your regular car battery, but instead of being hooked up to all the vehicle's electrics, it only powers the radio.
Q: How many watts is good for a car stereo?
A: The average factory radio is less than 200W. However, don’t forget all the other devices such as the receiver, each speaker, and subwoofer. Each device needs at least 50W and some need up to 300W, so your wattage can add up fast.
Q: Where should I put a second battery for a car stereo?
A: You need to find a safe place for your battery. If there's no room in the engine compartment, other common places are the trunk, glove box, or under the passenger seat.
The best car audio battery you can find is the XS Power D3400 12V High Output Battery. This power cell has the highest power output, so it will be able to run even the largest of car stereos.
If you want an extra battery for a car audio system that won't break the bank, then Kinetik HC600 BLU AGM Power Cell is the best choice. While it’s significantly cheaper, this power cell is also spillproof and has excellent vibration protection.